The Town

  • Review Date: September 14, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Strong, suspenseful, mature drama about a life of crime.
  • Review Date: September 14, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 125 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie seems to be saying that it's possible for people to escape their upbringing, but it may require them to turn their backs on friends and loved ones -- a tough choice, and one that's especially difficult here, because the film also highlights the importance of loyalty.

Positive role models

It's not really clear who to root for in a movie about bank robbers. Doug MacRay is painted as the “hero,” but he kills people and steals for a living. He’s certainly got a soft side and wants to escape from the underworld, but at heart he’s still a criminal.


Several intense shoot-outs, a few beatings, and some point-blank, execution-style killings. Two characters are shot in the head, on screen, which yields plenty of spraying blood. Another is savagely pummeled with rifle butts, and one man is shot in the groin at close range.


One very quick glimpse of a stripper’s bare breast and two sex scenes that feature writhing, grinding, and passionate sounds, but no nudity.


Tons of swearing -- particularly “f--k," but also “s--t," "d--k," "c--k," "ass," "hell," and "goddamn."


Some of the characters drink from Budweiser bottles.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several scenes feature people drinking in bars or at parties, and there several references to oxycontin and heroin. One of the main characters is a teetotaler who drinks juice at the bar while his friends pound beers and is later seen going to an AA meeting. One character's promising future was scuttled by drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gritty, tension-filled thriller directed by Ben Affleck about a crew of Boston bank robbers has plenty of excitement -- and plenty of graphic violence. The main characters are drawn into high-powered shoot-outs with the cops that leave several people dead or dying in pools of blood (two characters are shot in the head on screen). There are several bar scenes with a good bit of drinking, as well as near-constant swearing ("f--k" "s--t," and more). There are a few sex scenes, too, but, ultimately, it’s the realistic, intense violence that parents really need to watch out for.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) leads a band of professional bank robbers that includes his childhood best friend, Jem (Jeremy Renner). It's all he knows after botching a future in pro hockey (thanks to drugs), and it's a life he treasures -- even though it has both nurtured and wrecked him. On one of their heists, the gang abducts a bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), whom they let go once they're clear of the cops. But Jem's convinced that she'll get them in trouble, so Doug, sensing Jem's instability, decides to shadow her to see whether she'll become a liability. After getting to know her, Doug begins to entertain the possibility of starting over, perhaps with her -- a plan that Jem may not allow. Meanwhile, time is running out: An FBI agent (Jon Hamm) is nipping at their heels.

Is it any good?


With a deft hand, Affleck, who also directs, creates a fully rendered picture in THE TOWN of a man poised at a crossroads: Should he put the life he has lived thus far in, as he says, "the rear view," or commit to the path that has both nurtured and wrecked him? We sympathize with him despite the fact that he's essentially the bad guy -- even though he's not the baddest of the bunch. That "honor" falls to Jem, who frightens with his unpredictability and volatility, a cocktail that discomfits the audience thanks to Renner's enormous talent.

Most everyone, in fact, brings their A-game, from Hall to the bit players. (The gifted Hamm, however, surprisingly rates a B-plus; he's strong, but he doesn't seem as comfortable in this skin as he playing Mad Men's Don Draper.) So it's no wonder the disappointment that comes with the ending feels like a sucker punch: The last three minutes are too Hollywood, too Shawshank Redemption (without the originality), so far removed from the authentic Charlestown that Affleck has masterfully depicted during the 122 minutes that came before it. The wrap-up undercuts the fim -- though luckily, not entirely. What a statement The Town would have been had Affleck not given into the inclination for a tidy, bow-tied ending.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about "good guys" vs. "bad guys." Do you think someone who steals for a living should be portrayed as the “hero” of a movie? Do you think the criminals in this film come across as more competent than the cops?

  • Are there any obvious role models in this movie? What message do you think it's trying to send?

  • Do you think Doug MacRay is destined to become a bank robber like his father? How hard is it for him to escape this lifestyle?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 17, 2010
DVD release date:December 17, 2010
Cast:Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall
Director:Ben Affleck
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use

This review of The Town was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 17 year old Written byAGBaby December 19, 2010

only suitable for 16+ kids

I think this movie is very good and inspirational. I liked it but I don't think this movie is suitable for kids under 16 because it has too much violence, blood, sex, drugs and alochol use, and stong language. But I think this movie is suitable for kids 16+ because kids 16 and older are mature enough to watch movie like this. This movie is about 4 friends who are robbers and rob banks because they are forced to do it. They've been taught to rob since they were kids and if they don't follow orders from the boss then they are threatened to be killed. This movie is about love, violence, betrayal, friendship, sex, money, and power. I thought overall this movie was good and that's why I gave it 5 stars. But my suggestion is that this movie is very inappropriate and violent for kids under 16 to watch this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 9, 2010

Intense, mature heist drama could have been better

Ben Affleck has proven that he knows what scenes to keep in an intense, powerful film. But what he hasn't proven is what to leave out. If a little fat had been trimmed from this film, it would have been an amazing heist movie. The acting was superb from almost everyone. The action is intense and well-directed; in fact, this film has some of the best heist scnees I have ever witnessed. But, it's the dialogue that makes the film seem less than it's worth. Don't get me wrong; a lot of the dialogue was well written and relevant to the story, but some could have been left out and no one would tell the difference. Parents: this film contains quite a bit of bloody violence, including two graphic head shots. The hostage situations are intense and long, and the aftermath shows police and robbers using lots of firepower to stop each other. There's also loads of f-bombs, plus other swears, some sexual content, and drug use. Bottom Line: Sophisticated, intense, and often graphic, this powerful heist film is worth your money, if you can make it through some unneeded dialogue scenes. Thanks for reading! - Movie Man
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byjoshua martinez January 11, 2011
the town is a good drama movie star's with Ben affleck which means that your older teen's will want to see this movie but parents you need to know that this movie has a lot of intense violence there's two sex scenes shown and a stripper’s bare breast shown up close also there is a lot of constant strong language used and a lot of drinking and drugs used such as beer and drugs such as oxycontin and heroin.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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